...Most prospective law students sincerely believe they will graduate in the top 10% of the class. "You sign the loan papers with the idea that it will all pay off and it is the idealized big firm life that allows people to take debt," notes Indiana University Maurer School of Law Professor William Henderson. He recommends that the ABA Section on Legal Education and Admission to the Bar direct schools to walk students through the application process more carefully to conduct an intelligent analysis of their career prospects.True. What they don't believe is that they will be among the other 90% of graduates that don't do so well. Obviously, mathematics is not the lemming's strong point.
Law school applicants are generally naive consumers of debt. "As soon as tuition rose to a level where people had to borrow significant sums in order to go to law school, you had students with no experience taking out loans, repaying them or understanding what it means to have debt," says University of Miami School of Law Dean, Patricia White. "It was a little bit like the foreclosure crisis and the mortgage debacle," she adds.Wow. Dean White might be the ONLY Dean that I admire. Do you know that she tried to dissuade accepted applicants from attending her esteemed establishment. I think I'll even ask Nando from Third Tier Reality to refrain from giving UMiami his toilet treatment. Do you know what she did????
To address this disparity, last fall, in her first year as dean, White sent accepted applicants who had already paid their full non-refundable deposit a unique letter that generated national attention. In it, she asked, them to reconsider their choice of attending law school. The dean offered them the option to defer their admission for one year to further reflect on their chosen path. Of the 32 students who accepted her offer, only eight enrolled this year. [emphasis is mine]and then she goes on to call out the JD degree in BIDER fashion:
"Part of the problem is that students enroll in law school without really knowing what they will do," says White. She describes law school as "the great generalists graduate school" because the typical undergraduate has no real sense of what law is. "It is more common for undergraduates to have a popular culture sense about what the law is," she adds. [emphasis is mine]
Then Kaplan goes on with his list of ludicrous hints to make the most out of law school. He suggests you become a "Creative Hustler." I've called myself a hustler on more than one occasion, but it's because I'm hustling to pay my mortgage, student loan fees and eat. That's the hustle that many law grads are accustomed to you.
So you can have a good a good laugh, here's a few more of his suggestions:
You must be motivated. "You cannot succeed without a tremendous amount of drive; you need to put yourself on the line and risk failure," says Fulbright & Jaworski Partner Robert Owen. "If you don't have that kind of internal drive, it is not a good profession for you," he adds.
Develop targeted knowledge. "Learn something about something other than law," says University of Southern California Law School Professor Gillian Hadfield.
"Understand your client's business; it is not enough to understand the legal problem," advises Richard Fields, CEO of Juridica Capital Management (US) Inc. "When you understand your client's business, you can find solutions quicker, faster and cheaper," he adds.
Ultimately, confidence is the key to success in the law, notes Shepherd.Let me summarize: if you go to law school, be a lawyer. Lawyers must be confident, understand their client's business and know things other than the law. A lawyer, by definition, is a jack of all trades and the master of none. Especially the type of lawyers that don't get jobs after law school--those that end up being sole practitioners. If you do not heed my advice, you too will be a sole practitioner--because you will have no other options.
Thanks for nothing, Kaplan. I realize that encouraging people to take the plunge of a lifetime is probably part of your contract, but try and keep the bullshit to a minimum next time. This article was almost good.
On a totally unrelated note, I hate Phaedra Parks from Housewives of Atlanta. "Be a Lawyer, honey. Get your money!" UGH.
That's why she's married to an ex-con--probably the only bastard that deals with her work schedule and she's airing her life story for profit on Bravo. SURE. I hate the glorification of the legal industry by Hollywood--or Atlanta in this case.